FUN FACTS FRIDAY CHRONICLES
october 11, 2019
Did you know that elephants have the longest eyelashes in the world? They are 5 inches long, which is close to the size of the iPhone 6! They are also born blind and similar to the bald eagle (in a previous Fun Facts Friday), they have a Nictitating Membrane “third eye.”
Elephants can see just as well in dim light as they can in pure daylight, which allows them to live their lives proportional to day & night (part diurnal). They also have dichromic vision (color blind), whereas most humans have trichromic vision in order to see the colors of a rainbow.
When excited, lost, angry or any heightened emotion, elephants will make a “trumpet” sound that each other can hear up to 6 miles away. That’s the length of 105 American football fields! 😮
Similar to the snake’s tongue, elephants raise their trunk to gather scent particles yet it’s not to smell prey but to locate any surrounding water sources up to 12 miles away...so 210 American football fields! 😳
Elephants eat 16 hours a day and sleep a few hours, sometimes standing up. They eat mostly plants and NO peanuts, sorry to bust that myth. Fears? Oh you bet, ants and bees. They do not like those up their trunks! Their trunks are sensitive & can pick up the smallest grain! Enemies? Again, like the bald eagle, sadly it’s humans. 😞
But like humans, they mourn, hug each other by entwining their trunks, and have a long life span up to 50 - 70 years. Lin Wang, an Asian elephant, was the oldest elephant who died in 2003 at the age of 86. That’s a long life for such a large mammal!
October 4, 2019
Did you know the scales of a snake are made of keratin, the same substance that makes up our hair, skin, and nails? It makes sense being that we shed our skin too based on keratin produced inside our bodies. It's still gross though, although it would be worse if we shed our skins like they do - in full throttle. They only shed it three times a year though, which is called "molting." .
Snakes do not have ears, as you can obviously see, so how do they hear? They have internal ears that connect to their jawbone which rests on the ground so they "hear" via vibrations. Their jaws are so flexible that they can open their mouth up to 150 degrees in order to eat its prey, meat, as they are carnivores. If there's any reptile to survive a famine, it would be snakes as certain types can go up to two years without eating. 😳
The most noticeable attribute of a snake is its tongue. Their forked tongue is used to collect airborne particles that are examined inside their mouths to “smell" prey. Many snakes have venom to demobilize their prey and they cannot die swallowing their own venom as the main component is protein which becomes neutralized by their stomach acid.
Snake venom has been studied by many scientists in the medical field for treatments due to its protein capabilities. Captopril, for example, was the first venom-based drug approved by the FDA on April 6, 1981. It was derived from the Brazilian viper and currently being used to treat high blood pressure, heart failure and kidney problems from diabetes.
Who knew a snake could kill you and save your life!
September 27, 2019
Did you know that ocean waves are energy passing through the water? Energy makes the water move in a circular motion and the water doesn’t actually travel much. It’s merely the transfer of kinetic energy through the water. Such an illusion! Magic. ;)
This grand illusion is what allows surfers to catch the waves, riding the ocean’s ripples. Most waves are surface waves where the wind travels and what you would see at the beach. Others are caused by high winds such as rogue waves where they move in opposite directions resulting in a collusion. A good example of this is the movie “The Perfect Storm.” Rogue waves can rise over 100 feet and given free reign to sink any ship in its path.
The most dangerous, as you may know, are caused by land. Tsunamis. A tsunami (tsu = harbor, nami = wave) is a series of waves triggered by an earthquake, landslide or a volcanic eruption. The largest wave (tsunami) was recorded on July 9, 1958 at 1,720 feet high…higher than the Empire State Building which is 1,470 feet tall. This mega-tsunami was caused by a double whammy; a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Alaska that triggered a massive landslide in its Lituya Bay. Luckily, there wasn’t much civilization in that area and the casualties were two anglers.
September 20, 2019
Did you know that the Gladiolus stem base (corm) was used as a bandage to extract thorns & splinters by the English? Its corm though is actually not a ‘bulb’ which distinguishes this perennial flower from others. Corms (not to be mistaken for "corn") were also used to soothe colicky babies by making it into a powder & mixing it with goat’s milk. Today we use tweezers & have pediatricians so we can simply adore the Gladiolus for its beauty.
You may hear a Gladiolus being called a "sword lily.” This is due to its leaf shape. A scientist in ancient Rome thought it resembled a gladiator sword & named it after the word ‘gladius” which means "little sword" in Latin.
It has also been coined "corn lily." I’m not sure why, especially the “lily” part with either name since it’s not in relation to a lily. Maybe the corn part because they can grow up to 5 feet tall, are stalky & kind of look like corn before they bloom. They look more like wheat to me during that time. Gladiolus has more of an appealing ring to call a flower, eminently for the joy they bring to our lives with their beauty.
Speaking of joyful emotions, if there’s a special someone you want to express your infatuation to, send a bundle of Gladioluses. They can also symbolize faithfulness, honor, strength in character and remembrance.
This one in particular was given as a wedding gift to a family member. The newlywed couple loved it so much that they had their living room decorated around this 18” x 24” art piece titled “God’s Glad.” It will be monumental on their 40th anniversary being it's often celebrated with Gladioluses. This particular artwork was quite the challenge as it is difficult to achieve a transparent look on a scratchboard. A proud piece for sure.
September 13, 2019
Did you know that miniature ponies (horses) are about three feet when they are full grown? That is what...the height of a 2 year old? For a horse? Whaaat? True story. Meet Fancy, she’s a mini horse even though this art piece is her glamour shot. And those eyes!
Mini ponies have an average life span of 30. A long lasting companion for sure. The oldest was one by the name of Angel and she lived to 50! That’s many years of solid therapy. In fact, miniature horses are very successful as being therapy horses. They visit more than 45,000 people every year by being a part of numerous animal assisted therapy organizations.
They may bring a lot of joy to many sick and elderly humans but they have also been used for hauling goods out of mines back in the 1950’s. They even have a past with royalty.
The miniature horse was originated in the 1600’s in Europe and the wife of French emperor Napoleon III had one to entertain their children in the palace and equipped to pull a little carriage. Did Disney get this idea from her for Cinderella? The world’s smallest miniature horse was named Thumbelina (measuring at 17.5”). Still, what a childhood having mini ponies and living in a palace!
September 6, 2019
Fun Facts Friday! Did you know that the Doberman Pinscher was first bred & named after Herr Karl Louis Dobermann? He was a tax collector who held many jobs that required him to carry around large sums of money late at night & sometimes in shady parts of town. Jobs such as police officer, night guard & dog catcher.
Dobermann’s access to dogs gave him the idea to breed a medium sized dog that was refined yet intimidating to be his security dog. It’s still a mystery as to which types he bred as no notes were found but many believe a mixture from a Rottweiler to a Great Dane.
Dobbies are known for being great security dogs & were even used in the 1944 Battle of Guam during WWII. This was when the first canine casualty happened. His name was Kurt & he saved the lives of 25 Marines by going ahead & warning the troops of Japanese soldiers approaching with grenades.
Kurt & 24 other brave canines are laid to rest in the United States Marine Corps War Dog Cemetery in Guam. Along with a bronze statue of Kurt listing all the dogs’ names on its side created by Artist, Susan Bahary. RIP!
Now, I can’t leave you sad, so another fun fact about Dobermann Pinschers is that they are the 5th most intelligent and easily trained dog breed. So much so, that they outsmart their owners/trainers and can get bored fast. How has your Dobbie outsmarted you? Or have you been able to outsmart your Dobbie? Or maybe he or she just let you think you did. 😉
August 30, 2019
Did you know that the guinea pig jumps straight up and down when it's happy? There is even a term for it, it's called “pop-corning” which is quite fitting being that they eat constantly. The longest jump recorded, aka the happiest guinea pig, was in 2012 of 48cm and the name was Truffles (of course).
Guinea pigs cannot go more than 8 hours without food, so much so, that they make various sounds to let you know. These sounds include chirping, squealing, purring, and rumbling. I can only imagine what their 'hangry' sounds like. Eek! But this could be due to fact that their teeth do not stop growing and they have to eat a lot to wear them down.
The guinea pig has a stout body which can handle the constant eating, especially since they are active 20 hours of the day. They also don't need much sleep and tend to only take naps. And you may notice their eyes the most. Even though they seem big, they have terrible vision...but they can see in color. Bonus. And the location of their eyes allows them to see almost all the way around their head and body. Double bonus.
The guinea pig has a keen sense of hearing which compensates for the lack of vision to escape predators. They are also super fast. The world's fastest guinea pig ran 10m in 8.81 seconds in 2009. His name was Flash (of course).
Who's pet guinea pig is next to make it into the Guineas Book of World’s Records? 📖 🏆
August 23, 2019
Did you know that the longest domesticated cat in the world is the Maine Coon? Guinness recorded ‘Stewie’ in 2010 measuring 48.4 inches long. That’s 3 ‘foot long’ Subway sandwiches! Who is craving a Subway sandwich now? I am; it’s dinner time. 😋
Sadly, Stewie passed away in 2013 at the age of 8 whereas many Maine Coons can live to the age of 15.
The oldest recorded was 27 and his name was Corduroy. How long they live depends on their health, their activity and their ability to hunt and be hunted. It’s good to not declaw them for this reason. They aren’t the type to claw up your furniture though but are best being outdoor cats. Their well-known large paws stem from adapting to the New England winters which help them walk in the snow.
Maine Coons have long, shaggy and multi-colored hair, not to mention, water resistant. They do enjoy the water for this reason and can actually swim quite well. They are also called the “American Longhair.”
You have probably noticed the Maine Coon’s bushy tail (resembling a raccoon - but they are not related). It’s used to wrap around their body to keep them warm. I would want one just for that! I love petting cat tails. And if you ever notice that their so called “meow” is a bit off, it actually sounds more like a chirp and trill which mixes up a meow and a purr. Confused feelings perhaps? I don’t know.
One more fun fact is if you’ve seen any Harry Potter movies, Mrs. Norris, who was Argus Filch’s pet, was a Maine Coon and 3 were casted for it. 🐈 🐈 🐈
Who’s Friday night is going to consist of watching Harry Potter while eating Subway? Haha!
August 16, 2019
Did you know that you can tell by the dilation of a cat's eye what they are feeling at the moment? If they have wide pupils their emotions are heightened with excitement or fear, whereas a narrow pupil is usually a sign of danger. Who knew? I didn't. Although, the easier way to know their feelings is with their tail, but that's another Fun Facts Friday.
Now onto the color of their eyes which is spectacular, like this cat's eye. It's all about the amount of melanin produced by the iris cells, called melanocyte. The more produced, the darker the eyes will be but they will never be truly brown or black. The compilation of colors are copper, gold, yellow, green and blue. Blue-eyed cats do not have any melanin in them and all kittens are born blue-eyed. A cat's eye color doesn't change until 4 to 6 weeks old and are fully matured in a few months.
The eye gene for the color in their eyes is not controlled by the same gene for the fur color, however, a white cat will have blue eyes and that is because the white fur gene is the most dominant and kicks the other color genes aside.
After their eyes have fully matured in color and you see that they have changed, it's best to seek a vet. If it changes to orange, there is some inflammation (or it’s possessed). Either way, it's good to stare into your fur ball's eyes and get lost in their beauty.
August 9, 2019
Did you know that in Eureka, NV it’s against the law for men with mustaches to kiss a woman? Yes, the Mustache Law was created in the 19th century. Why? I don’t know but I would think it was a woman’s idea....scratchy scratch or by men who could not grow their own. Which would be pretty difficult considering the average male has about 5 million hair follicles. To put that into perspective, that’s 3x the amount of a gorilla. Wow!
If you have a man with a stache’, observe how many times he caresses or touches it. It’s been researched that the average is 760 times in a 24 hour period. I wonder why the fascination? Could it be because mustache hair grows faster than any other body hair? Maybe due to the high activity within the follicle. That number may increase during spring & summer when the follicles sprout more during those times of the year. Trim that baby up!
Do you know the length of the longest recorded mustache?It’s 14 feet and grown for 44 years by Ram Singh Chauhan of India. He has got to have mega neck issues. I wonder how much it weighs!
Now, when you play with a deck of cards next, notice that the only king without a mustache is the King of Hearts. It’s due to the purity the heart symbolizes that should not be disguised in any fashion. In fact, the United States has not had a President with a mustache since 1909 & up until then only 4 total: Arthur, Roosevelt, Cleveland and Taft. I wonder if that streak will ever break.
The most notably known Artist exemplified by his whacky yet super mustache is Salvador Dali. He loved it very much and stated “like two erect sentries, my mustache defends the entrance to my real self.”
August 2, 2019
Did you know that calla lilies aren’t even lilies? It’s true. In the 18th century a Swedish botanist accidentally named it by recording the flower as a lily. By the time the mistake was found the name had stuck so they kept it.
I’m glad they kept the name as calla lilies are so beautiful, in fact, calla means “beautiful” in Greek. Serendipitous perhaps? They also carry some fun nicknames such as pig lily, arum lily and trumpet lily (similar shape).
Calla lilies are tied to the Ancient Greek mythology as being that Hera created the Milky Way with her milk scattering & when the droplets landed they formed lilies. Even the Roman mythology became allured by the lily. Venus looked at the flower as competition & cast a ‘pistil’ curse on it. How spiteful!
Speaking of spiteful, calla lilies are actually quite poisonous & the effects are best not to say. Oh...& it’s a good idea to keep them away from any vegetarian pets. Well, the leaves are ok but a BIG No No to the flower & stamen.
July 26, 2019
Did you know that a baby bison is called a “red dog?” It’s because their hair is orange-red in color when they are born and then it changes to dark brown after a few months along with their regular characteristics of a shoulder hump and their horns begin to grow.
Many use the term ‘buffalo’ but the scientific word is ‘bison bison bison’ in North America. Yes, said three times but once is good enough unless you’re Jan from The Brady Bunch (Marsha, Marsha, Marsha). 😁
The American Bison is officially the National Mammal of the United States as of May 9, 2016. President Obama signed the National Bison Legacy Act into law to join in with the Bald Eagle 🦅 as a symbol of our country 🇺🇸 .
A male bison is a bull 🐂 and a female is a cow 🐄. Males stand 6 feet tall (wow), weigh 2,000 lbs (yikes) and a female 4-5 feet tall, 1,000 lbs (still yikes). You definitely don’t want to tip any of them over on you. 😝
July 19, 2019
Did you know that the Red-Eyed Tree frog uses those big eyes to help them swallow? True story. They close their eyes when they catch an insect and their tiny
teeth hold it in place. Next, they retract their eyes into their body which then pushes the insect down their throat. Those are springy eyes so they can get on the move!
I bet you are wondering why they have red eyes thinking that it would be a disadvantage to them when in fact it’s the opposite. The colors on their bodies are strategically placed for survivability. The bold green body color allows them to camouflage with the leaves (they spend a lot of time in trees) when they tuck in their colorful blue & yellow striped back legs to hide from predators. When found out they open those big red eyes to startle the predators allowing them to escape.
Now for the mating process which is interesting in itself. The males descend from trees to bodies of water & call out to the females. The females respond which turns into a big frenzy. A female picks her mate & they go into amplexus which is where the female carries the male on her back, like a backpack. She draws in water so she can lay her eggs for him to hop off her back & fertilize externally on the bottom of a leaf. I would say this takes on the term “froggy style.”
July 12, 2019
Did you know that Ronald Reagan made the rose the national flower emblem of the United States in 1986? He even made the announcement from the White House Rose Garden.
Roses 🌹can live a long time and have been around for more than 35 million years. A fossil of a rose was found in Colorado by which archeologists came to this discovery of its time line. Today, almost a quarter of all roses sold in the United States come from Ecuador where 54% of their land is full of roses. They require a lot of water (3-4 gallons to blossom) and areas near the equator harbor a lot of roses. I bet it smells wonderful there! The thorns on roses aren’t really “thorns” but “prickles” and come from the climbing roses species to help them bond to other plants and objects. They can grow quite tall, the highest recorded has been 23 feet in India. That’s about 3 1/2 Lebron James standing on top of each other to put that in perspective. Wow!
July 5, 2019
Did you know that ‘orangutan’ means ‘person of the forest?’ It’s a combination of two Malay/Indonesian words with ‘orang’ meaning ‘person’ and ‘hutan’ meaning ‘forest.’ Orangutans are physically built to live in trees and make their nests up high in the forest. Their diet consists of bark, leaves, flowers, insects and a lot of fruit.
They have a rather large range of area for their homes. Females settle down to raise offspring within a 3.5 square mile radius while the males’ territory may be up to 15 square miles. Male orangutans live a solitary lifestyle. Once they mature, they leave the nest in search of their own territory and then go on to find females who are ready to mate. They have mutually short romances, a week tops, only to procreate and then the males are back to Lonerville.
They are the slowest breeding primate, similar to humans, with a gestation period from 8 to 9 months. They also have long intervals between each offspring ranging from 7 to 10 years. Which leads to a female giving birth to approximately 3 babies in a lifetime (35-40 years in the wild) making them even more vital to the survival of the species.
Baby orangutans nurse until they are 6 or 7 years old. The longest dependence of any animal on its mother. This means the mama sleeps with the infant until she has another baby. Can any of you mothers imagine doing that? Haha! No thank you!
June 28, 2019
Did you know that Systemic Lupus Erythmatosus, “lupus,” literally means WOLF REDNESS? It was named that because physicians believed back in the eighteenth century that the disease was caused by a wolf bite. It makes you wonder how many got bit back then much less survived one considering their massive jaw has a crushing pressure of nearly 1,500 pounds per square inch (a large dog has 750).
Wolves are a keystone species, meaning they are very valuable to the ecosystem in which they reside. Without them, it would not exist. Yellowstone is a good example of this. They had been killed off in 1926 and then reintroduced in 1995 to bring its ecosystem back.
They feed on sick, weak and injured ungulates (large mammals with hooves such as deer, moose, elk, bison) to keep the ecosystem in check leaving the healthy ones to continue their species. Thus, leaving the remains for other species to survive on especially during harsh winters. Very intuitive of course and their intelligence far exceeds domesticated dogs and hunting abilities of humans.
A hungry wolf can eat 20 pounds of meat for one meal. That equates to a human eating 100 hamburgers! I will not think of the song “Hungry Like a Wolf” by Duran Duran the same again.
June 21, 2019
Did you know that Bald Eagles have a see-through voluntary eyelid called a nictitating membrane? They use it to protect, moisten & clean their eyes while the main eyelids are open. They have amazing eyesight (their strongest sense) with having large eyes that take up 50% of their head & weighing about the same amount as the human eye all while seeing 4-5x better than us! Bald Eagles see 5 basic colors to our 3 & can detect UV light. This is due to the cones (light detecting cells in the retina). Humans: 200,000. Bald Eagles: 1,000,000. They win.
As the apex predators as they are (top of the food chain); they eat mainly meat & fish & can detect prey up to 2 miles away. Eagles often steal food from other birds by chasing them until they DROP IT LIKE IT’S HOT. :)
Monogamous & mate for life, 35 years & share in a continual building of a huge nest, incubating eggs & feeding their babies. Young bald eagles have brown heads & change plumage patterns within the first 5 years. Year 2 they have white bellies. Adult males & females have the same plumage patterns so the only way to tell them apart is by their size. Females are 25% larger. Scientists think it’s because they tend to take charge of the nest & incubate the eggs longer which could deter egg thieves.
To know the difference between an eagle & a vulture is by how they soar. Eagles fly with flat wings whereas vultures fly with their wings up & in a v-shape.
Ironically, humans are the main enemy of the Bald Eagle with our pollution & chemicals which poison their food supply. In their naturalistic world, the adult Bald Eagles have zero enemies.
June 14, 2019
Did you know that crows are monogamous and that they raise families together? They are also very intelligent and have the biggest brain to body ratio among all bird species.
Crows have various warning calls, “cawing,” some specifically for cats, hawks and humans. Similar to parrots, they can imitate the human voice. They also don’t forget a face, especially if you hurt them. Something to ponder if you ever think of throwing a pebble at one.
A group of crows is called “Murder.” This is because when one is sick or critically injured about to die, they will gather around it and attack it aggressively to kill it quickly so it doesn’t suffer. And when one is found dead, the other crows investigate to see if there’s a threat in order to avoid it in the future. They even hold funerals for each other. A compassionate and mourning crow? Who knew?
June 7, 2019
Did you know that a Brown Bear’s curved claws can be up to four inches long? Granted they are big bears but that’s just their claws and their feet average around one foot long (like a subway sandwich). “Foot long! Who got the foot long?!”- Dumb and Dumber. I had to say that…love that movie.
Scientists have found that the more north in latitude in geography, the larger the size of the Brown Bear and mainly because the greater in mass allows them to survive harsher climates (such as British Columbia, Alaska and Kodiak Island). Their diet varies by location as well. They are the only predators that are omnivores (eat both plants and animals) albeit being classified as carnivores; their teeth prove it by having two sets of teeth for both types of food.
Now, the next time you drive your vehicle and go 40 miles an hour, that is how fast a Brown Bear can run. The fastest runner in the world, Usain Bolt, can run 27 miles an hour, so don’t ever think you can outrun this bear. And their sense of smell is 100 times better than humans and can smell their prey up to 20 miles away!
May 31, 2019
Did you know that the Hungarian Puli is a dog breed that is often used to herd sheep or cattle? They are very intelligent, obedient and agile which is why they are perfect for this task as well as many canine sports. Very fearless and territorial, due to their shepherd instincts, making them great guard dogs but not the best city dogs as they need a lot of space to release their high energy.
The Puli is easily recognized for their “rasta” hairstyle resembling dreadlocks which are actually corded and even waterproof due to its controlled matted process. It does require quite the attention on top of their activity level. Not the low maintenance type of breed by any-means but they don’t shed. That’s a bonus!
They do make great pets as they are very loyal and protective, plus you can have them mop your floor daily! ;).
May 24, 2019
Did you know that only male gorillas can become silverback? Males weigh around 400 lbs. and grow up to 6 ft. tall. Females weigh about half (200 lbs) and average 4 feet tall. Male gorillas have a crest (a ridge) on their skull,and have larger heads than females to anchor their large jaw muscles.
At the age of 8, they are considered “adults” but continue to grow and maintain black hair for 4 more years. It isn’t until the age of 13 that they become a “silverback.” The name describes exactly what they look like; the hair across their shoulders, down their back and to their hips becomes grayish or white in color.
Silverbacks are considered the leader. The rest of the troop comprises of adult females, infants and maybe a few younger adult males. The silverbacks create the troop’s routines, feeding/sleeping times, diet and even define their territory as for breeding rights with the adult females. They are not aggressive but can be with other adult males outside the troop.
May 17, 2019
Did you know that betta fish can be trained to do tricks? It’s a good way for them to not get bored. Yes, they get bored like us!
Have some fun with your pet betta by having it follow your finger, swim through a hoop and even jump!
Betta splendens, aka Siamese fighting fish, have an organ called “labyrinth” which allows them to breathe our air from the surface. They even create bubble nests at the top of the surface which indicates that they are happy and healthy.